Today we have a look at what Ireland and the Isles have to offer! Bestival Dates: 11/12/13 September 2009 Place: Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight Website: Bestival is now in it’s sixth year, and despite a slightly muddy setback last year (we won’t think about that again) the lineup seems to be better than ever. The thing that organizers Rob and Josie Da Bank manage to achieve here is a truly great, silly and fun atmosphere. The attention to detail is immense and everything looks just wonderful and different to the normal generic festival layout. This is not the place for you if you want to hang around in trendy slacks, you should be prepared to at least dress up for the parade on Saturday (Theme is Space this year). Hey it’s fun and we all did it when we were kids ! You can do the cha cha cha in the come dancing tent, watch folk in at the open air bandstand, stay up till very very late in search of the hidden disco (different place every year!) and lie on a hill and recover from your hangover with a reasonably priced tea and cake from the WI tent. It’s one of the last of the season and seriously not one to be missed. AND you get to sail there on a boat (Unless you live on the Isle of Wight of course) Bands to check out : Kraftwerk, Fleet Foxes, Michael Nyman, Efterklang, Kid Carpet, Fake Bush, also Rob Da Banks DJ set on the final night is the best place to end the weekend. Electric Picnic Dates: Friday 4th - Sunday 6th September Place: Stradbally Hall Estate, Co. Laois, Eire Website: Ireland’s finest music and arts festival has begun to receive a strong following in recent years, selling out faster this year than plodding rival Irish outing Oxegen (basically T in the Park in Ireland). Electric Picnic is obviously of influence to Latitude, both featuring a similar laidback ethos with elective artists and events that reflect this. Also family friendly in nature, with attractive ticket prices, plus kids areas and workshops. Another diverse festival not just about the music - comedy, a 24-hour cinema tent, silent disco and much other festival goodness is spread around. The line-up is as mouth-watering as ever, appealing to broad-minded types with it’s impressive spectrum of artists, both well known in the alternative music world and further obscure acts. The Flaming Lips are the act to see – a great addition to any festival, but particularly appealing in these settings. Acts of Tranquility and other similar superlatives, such as Explosions in the Sky and Fleet Foxes are intermixed with high quality electro music in 2 Many DJ’s, James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem) and Simian Mobile Disco; also high quality electro-pop fun in MGMT and Klaxons. Rodrigo Y Gabriela and many others provide further diversity. Main Pics: Flaming Lips, Madness, Brian Wilson, MGMT, Echo & the Bunnymen, Basement Jax, Zero 7, Klaxons 405 Picks: Bat For Lashes, Four Tet, Lykke Li, Micachu, Okkervil River, James Murphy, Simian Mobile Disco, Efterklang, Amadou & Mariam, The Walkmen Isle Of Wight Dates: Friday 12th - Sunday 14th June Place: Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight Website: A festival with bucket loads of history (and sand) behind it, the Isle of Wight offers something quite different from your usual ‘mainstream’ jobbies. The fact that it is held on an island gives it a glorious holiday feel; once you step off that ferry from the mainland (which you have to do to get there, unless you’re chopper-ed in like the artists) makes it feel special. Plus, it’s ALWAYS sunny at the IOW. Scorchio! Not quite attracting the 500,000 that attended the legendary festival back in 1970, with Hendrix et al, it still contains a squeezing 70,000 revelers. A unique entity in that it only consists of one stage; you have to essentially like or lump whoever’s on, which can actually give you chance to listen to artists you wouldn’t have always have gone to see. Of course, this means the line-up is vital to the enjoyment of the festival; paying £140 to hang out in a sunny field for three days is a bit steep. This year is arguably a weaker line-up than previous years (thinking of the Rolling Stones, Muse and Kasabian monster combo in 2007 in scorching sun). Friday night features quite an exclusively dance line-up, in the shape of, and indeed pulling shapes with The Prodigy, Basement Jaxx and Pendulum. Saturday consists of a very mainstream indie fare with Stereophonics and Razorlight – and Sunday the traditional nostalgia fest with Neil Young and Pixies. Picks: Pixies, Neil Young, The Prodigy, The Ting Tings, Simpleminds, Stereophonics, White Lies, Basement Jaxx, Maximo Park A couple of other festival mini's worth your attention: Summer Sundae Dates: Friday 14th - Sunday 16th August Place: De Montfort Hall, Leicester, Leicestershire Website: The charming festival returns for it’s ninth outing, blending a mix of eclectic indie bands with local talent and artists. A strong line-up is present this year, such as Future of the Left and Mystery Jets; neither of which appear at many other UK festivals. Other entertainment including a Comedy Tent, kid friendly areas and silent disco available. The Streets and The Charlatans and headline the Friday and Saturday respectively, but are interspersed with other acts such as 405 favourites First Aid Kit and Fanfarlo. BBC 6 Music covers the festival extensively every year, so tune in if you can't make it, or just don't want to! Picks: Idlewild, 65 Days of Static, Dananananakroyd, Future of the Left, Saint Etienne, Bon Iver, Mystery Jets, Filthy Dukes, Woodpigeon Secret Garden Party Dates: Thursday 23rd - Sunday 26th July Place: East Anglia Website: A slightly surreal, leftfield experience is offered at the Secret Garden Party, featuring a plethora of creative ideas and lots of fun. Diversity in festivals is ever increasing, as you’ll know if you’ve been reading all week – but SGP goes further than most. The experience promises to offer body painting, bubble-wrap popping, raft building, skinny-dipping, mud wrestling and even sock wrestling. Please comment if you know what this involves – apart from socks obviously. Also a range of talks on film, science, arts, music, everything, will take place. A line-up of very much alternative and underground artists are on show, such as Bombay Bicycle Club, The Death Set and Slow Club to name the main players. Jarvis Cocker is the main attraction to the Cambridgeshire party. Picks: Jarvis Cocker, Slow Club, Chew Lips, Dan Black, Emmy The Great, Fight Like Apes, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Soko, Caribou, Those Dancing Days